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Due to the growing presence of spikes, studs, leather and lace in the fashion industry (and our personal interest in subcultures in general) we were prompted to take a look at the modern metal music scene for some unexpected style inspiration. Metal fashion isn't just about Affliction and dirty Converse as some people might think. We found that bands have more to teach us than just how to dress a small group of people in coordinated monochromatic outfits. Take a look at our cross-section of 10 metal bands that look cool and accompanying style commentary below.
1. KISS (above): Old, but good, and still touring after nearly four decades, KISS knows all the tricks from mass branding to sweat-proof make-up application. They wear what is expected of metal gods—black leather, mirrored shin guards, spiked gauntlets and butt cut-out tights. What's most impressive to us, though, is their ability to pull off six inch platforms that even rival the extremes of today's heavy hitters in pop music.
2. Atreyu: The fact that this metalcore band is named after a character from the book The Never Ending Story (or more memorably, the 1980's classic movie based on it) should be enough to make our list. But given Atreyu's lead guitarist's appearance, we assume he has a collection of vintage rock T-shirts and cut-off denim jackets to make any street-style star swoon, not to mention a line-up of equally swoon-worthy custom guitars.
3. Dr. Acula: With the recent acceptance of shock value as fashion in pop culture, we had to include blood-drenched death metal band Dr. Acula in our count (in before Gaga).
4. Wolfmother: This psychedelic heavy metal band has a style about as confusing as their genre. But, hey, the 70's are in, and these outfits scream nerd boyfriend to us.
5. In Fear and Faith: We have found that the metal scene is actually similar to the fashion industry in the sense that a completely disaffected demeanor is pivotal to looking cool.
6. Rhapsody of Fire: Five piece Italian power metal band Rhapsody of Fire sings about the middle ages and literally dresses just the same. Their almost mystical style compliments the unicorn on their album cover perfectly. If you're looking for the proper place to get ye olde perm, we're pretty sure that four-fifths of the band can give you a recommendation.
7. Kittie: We had to include one girl metal band to break up the pure masculinity of this list (what's more masculine than spandex, make up and lace-up shirts?). London based band Kittie has mastered the marriage of edge and femininity, or sex appeal and intimidation—we can't decide.
8. The Chariot: The Chariot sort of dresses like 60% of the people you would see in Brooklyn at any given time, or like they've been transported from the 90's. Style above average, typical or not by fashion standards, they made our list simply because they stand out in a metalcore scene that seems to be a sea of band tees and skinny jeans to us.
9. Dir En Grey: Dir En Grey's style was featured on MySpace as we were doing this survey. Every member of this Japanese experimental metal band has their own separate style, all cool and all unbuttoned down to their sternums.
10. The Devil Wears Prada: There is not much that is cool or standout about the way this band dresses, but kudos to them for accidentally naming their band after a book all about fashion with the intention of doing the exact opposite. We end our list with metal's young and materialistically confused future.—Payton Wang
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